Judgements from God
During these same brief years, horrendous judgments from God will he unleashed upon the ungodly. In The Revelation we read of seven trumpet judgments, to be followed by seven vial judgments. The seven vial judgments are to be poured out on the kingdom of the Antichrist. Their effects may be world-wide in scope as well, but they will be especially concentrated on the area under Antichrist's control.
What will the Jews do--those in slavery and those who have fled into the mountains and wilderness? There will no doubt be some among them who will pray most earnestly and effectively for deliverance, and God will answer their prayers! He will raise up 15 outstanding Jews, evidently Jews in free nations-seven religious leaders and eight business, political, or military leaders--to organize the opposition against the Antichrist. We know the exact number of men. The Old Testament prophecies are very clear on the subject. See Micah 5:5-6.
It's these Jews who will instigate the war against Antichrist. Isaiah 52:1-12; 41:14-16; Micah 4:11-13. But how can they ever expect to overcome him when he's controlling the whole world? He will actually control the then-known world, the world of Bible times, around the Mediterranean Sea, and all of the area known at that time. But there will be vast portions of the modem-day world he will not control.
This war council of 15 Jews will mobilize the armies of four great world powers--four great nations or empires (Jeremiah 50:9; Zechariah 1:18-2l)-who will go against the Antichrist. Their first target will be his capital city of Babylon.
As these great powers prepare to move on Babylon to destroy it, God will warn the Jews enslaved there to flee the city. Isaiah 48:20; 49:9; 52:11-12; Jeremiah 50:8-9; 51:6,45-46; Zechariah 2:6-7. But how can slaves leave the place in which they are enslaved? With God, of course, all things are possible, and we are told exactly how He plans to save them.
He will whisper a word to the earth and actually cause it to leave its orbit. The prophecy states that earth will run around in space like a deer that's being chased, and it will wander about like a sheep that has no shepherd. Isaiah 13:13-14. See also Luke 21:26 and the note.
What would your reaction be? How do you suppose people would react today if the earth went out of orbit? It would scare the very life out of most people, wouldn't it? The Scriptures state that in those days Many will die of heart failure because of fear, resulting from the frightful things that are happening to the earth. Luke 21:25-26. When this earth goes on its erratic ride thru the heavens without a driver, it will bring terrifying panic to all--except to those who are ready to meet God.
People in the city of Babylon will be so frightened, shaken, and confused over the results of the earth's tangent that they won't even think of their slaves, the Jews. God says to His captive, praying people, You won't need to sneak out of Babylon fearfully, nor take hasty flight. Walk out with your heads high, and even ask the citizens of Babylon as to the best route to Israel. Then the Lord promises, I'll even be your rear guard. They won't come after you after you've left, because I'm going to keep them back there. Isaiah 52:1 I12; Jeremiah 50:4-5.
We are told that Babylon will be the greatest and richest city on earth at the time of Antichrist's reign. People from around the world will go there to make their fortunes. But at this ominous turn of events, when the earth leaves its orbit, these foreigners will also flee and return to their own lands. Jeremiah 50:16; 51:9; Isaiah 47:15. They evidently will have heard this prophecy of the chaos that will occur just before Babylon and the surrounding area is overthrown and burned. Not all of the foreigners will leave, of course, because many will have their business, investments, and families there. And many will value these more than their lives.
The armies of the four major attacking powers, together with many others (Jeremiah 50:9,41), will surge into Babylon in a sudden and fierce attack. They will first slaughter the citizens, both in the city and in the countryside. Jeremiah 50:1415,29-30,42; 51:49; Revelation 18:6-7.
Then the soldiers of these armies will rob Babylon of everything of value: gold, silver--anything, everywhere--on the dead, in their homes, in their banks, storehouses--everything, everywhere. Finally the victors will bum the place down. Babylon will be slaughtered, plundered, and burned, in that order. See Isaiah 47; Jeremiah 50 and 51; Revelation 18.
Interestingly, the Bible tells more about the Battle of Babylon than about the Battle of Armageddon. Most of the above Scriptures have to do with modern Babylon rather than ancient Babylon.
During these events, the Jews will be triumphantly marching on their way to Jerusalem, and, according to Scripture (Isaiah 48:20-2 1; 49:91 1) God will provide food, water, and smooth roads for them in those deserts. He will see that their every need is provided as they travel home. The former slaves will arrive in Jerusalem praising God and shouting loudly enough for all the world to hear. Most likely all of the world will hear, and see, too, by television. What a tremendous event for the world to witness.
Next, God's liberating armies, after plundering and burning Babylon, will go from Babylon to Israel and will turn on Antichrist's occupying forces in Jerusalem. The four powers, together with growing Israeli forces, will liberate Israel. The Jews will mobilize, organize, and take part in these final and most memorable of battles. Zechariah 14:14; 9:13 (or vss 12-16); 10:3-6.
This series of conflicts will end in the Battle of Armageddon. The Bible even tells us its timing in relation to other events. The Battle of Armageddon will take place 4 1/2 months after the Battle of Babylon. (140 days. See Chart on page 511.)
What will be the reason for the Battle of Armageddon? What will cause it? Look at it from Antichrist's standpoint. His capital city has been wiped out, and with it he has lost all the Middle East. Thus threatened, he will no doubt mobilize all of his remaining armies throughout Europe, Africa, and elsewhere for the purpose of liquidating these invaders.
His plan will call for nothing less than total annihilation of his enemies. At the same time, the liberating armies will call for further reinforcements from their nations, and from many other nations as well. Many powers near and far will join the four great liberating powers in this last great battle. Joel 3:1-2,9-14; Revelation 16:13-14.
It's an interesting chain of events: We are told that Antichrist's armies will mobilize in the Valley of Megiddo; then he will evidently come down with one of his armies and go right into the heart of Israel; he gets to within a mile of Jerusalem, on a hill called Nob, where he's able to look over to Jerusalem. Here, we're told, he will raise his fist and threaten the Jews and boast of what he will do on the morrow. He will likely do this for the benefit of television, for all the world to hear and see. Isaiah 10:20-34, esp. v 32.
But early the next morning--we believe it will be early, so God can make a full day's production of this tremendous event--Christ will appear in the heavens! The invading Antichrist army will be no match for the Messiah-the Great Liberator-and Antichrist will go down in ignominious defeat. Revelation 19:19-21.
Immediately after the battle, the Jews will take the spoil from the bodies slain by the Lord. Zechariah 14:14. They will gather all the gold, silver, and other valuables they want. Even the lame, we are told, will gather their share. The Jews, together with the liberating armies, will enrich themselves from these fallen bodies. Then, the vultures will devour the corpses. Revelation 19:17-21.
The End of the World
The next event will be a great judgment from God, which many have called the end of the world. Isaiah 2:10-21; Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12-17; 16:16-21. First, great darkness will cover all the earth. Then earthquakes such as mankind have never experienced will shake this earth to its very foundations. The shakings will be so severe and extended that they will level every mountain.
Following this, great numbers of large meteorites will crash into the earth, causing horrendous destruction.
The oceans will disappear. Revelation 21:1. A pertinent theory, held by a number of knowledgeable scientists, is that there was at one time a canopy of ice particles high in the sky, causing a hothouse effect of constant, warm temperatures over the whole earth. it appears likely, from various Scriptures, that this canopy will be restored. The disappearance of the oceans could mean that they will literally return to the skies.
Lakes and rivers will still exist on earth, but there will be a vastly greater land area. Almost three-fourths of our world is covered by oceans today. When the waters return to the skies, there will obviously be much more room on earth. The mountains, lowered as plains and rolling hills, can become farmlands. Finally, even the deserts will blossom in wondrous profusion and beauty. Isaiah 35:1-2,6-7; 41:18-20; 43:18-20; 51:3. What a paradise this earth will finally become!
But while earth is being renovated, it will serve as a colossal judgment from God upon selfish, willful, God-rejecting humans. Besides the judgments already mentioned, there will be great thunder and lightning, no doubt with great torrents of rain and floods. Great hail storms will also strike the earth. The average hailstones of these wild storms will weigh over 100 pounds each. Revelation 16:21. Imagine what destruction such hail will cause!
After the earth has been literally shaken to pieces, washed out, and then pummeled with great meteorites and hailstones to crush what little remains, the Lord will send a grand finale of fire. He will burn the very bits and pieces of people's finest dreams until all lie in ashes at their feet. 2 Peter 3:5-14.
The question often arises: "What will happen to the Christians on earth during this time?" Some believe that the Christians will have been taken by God from the earth before the 7-year tribulation even begins. But we believe that the Scriptures clearly teach that the Christian will be here to the very end; at least until just before God pours out His wrath upon mankind shortly after Armageddon. Matthew 24:29-31.
Our belief before making this intense study was that all Christians would be taken by the Lord from the earth before the Great Tribulation, or at least before the last half of it. But we find that the Scriptures are very clear that the Rapture of God's people from the earth will occur after the Great Tribulation. See Matthew 24:30-31 notes and Appendix 201, page 467.
We do hope no one will dismiss us just because of disagreeing with us regarding the time of the Rapture of the Church. This is one point where we would like to be wrong. We have no desire to live thru a time of great tribulation. But the blessed hope of Christians is that Christ has promised He will take us to be with Himself, forever. The time when He takes us is not all that important. Our main concern must be that we are ready to go when He calls, either by death or in the Rapture.
Three books regarding the Rapture are recommended reading: The Blessed Hope, by George Ladd, published by Eerdmans; The Approaching Advent of Christ, by Alexander Reese, published by Grand Rapids International Publications; and The Church and the Tribulation, by Robert H. Gundry, published by Zondervan.
Following the Rapture, a great marriage will take place in Heaven. Revelation 19:6-9. The Bridegroom is none other than the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The Bride will be those of earth who have made themselves ready .
Two judgments will also take place at this time--the judgment for rewards, for all true followers of the Lord, and the judgment of the nations. At the judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:31-46), determination will be made concerning those still living upon the earth. Some will be privileged to enter the Kingdom Age, to repopulate the earth, and some will not. Christ will ask one great question of those who appear before Him at the judgment of the nations: "How did you treat My people, the Christians and the Jews, during the awful time of tribulation? Did you help them or did you ignore their needs, or even help the Antichrist in his persecution of My people?" The Lord will simply say, "Whatever you have done to these, my brothers and sisters, you have done to Me." And they will be judged accordingly. See Matthew 25:31-46.
Later there will be another judgment--the judgment of all who ignored God and His will for them, and who lived to please themselves instead of God. They will be resurrected from death and Hell for this judgment. Revelation 20:11-15. There will be degrees of anguish and suffering in Hell and in the lake of fire, just as there will be degrees of reward in Heaven for those who sought earnestly to please God. It is our earnest hope that you will surrender in obedience to God and received His forgiveness thru Christ--and everlasting Life.
Following His return to earth, Christ will set up His eternal Kingdom, the Kingdom of God on earth. Christ will then in truth be King of kings and Lord of lords.
This is a bare outline of a few of the outstanding happenings prophesied in the Bible for the end time. As you read and earnestly study God's word, you will discover much, much more.